Michelle Slatalla
Michelle Slatalla believes the first rule of good manners is forgiving those with bad ones, if they show a desire to improve. And she hopes everyone to whom she still owes a wedding gift thank-you note (from 1988) agrees. A former columnist for the New York Times, where she wrote for 12 years about digital culture and family life, she also has written regular columns for Time, Hallmark, Rosie and Lifetime magazines, as well as an online column for the Discovery Channel. After graduating from Indiana University with a bachelor's degree in journalism, her first job was as a newspaper reporter at Newsday. She also earned a master’s degree in English from Columbia University, where she currently teaches journalism.

She recently traded in a house and a garden in Northern California for an apartment in Manhattan, where she lives with her husband, her youngest daughter, and two little dogs with big ears. Her two other daughters, who begged her to get the dogs and promised to walk them every day and every night, have gone off to college.

Recent Posts By Michelle Slatalla

Email Wedding Invitations: ‘Reply All’ to RSVP?

More and more people are skipping paper wedding invitations to send email instead. A new article (written by one of my students at Columbia University) describes the trend: “There are good reasons a growing number of couples go digital when they send wedding invitations: It saves money, reduces your carbon footprint and can efficiently reach friends scattered around the world,” […]

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No One Offered to Throw a Shower? Plan Your Own

A couple of readers have said they disagree (thanks for writing, ngarner29 and ynwa098) with my opinion that it’s perfectly fine to throw your own party to celebrate your wedding or new baby: ynwa098: I am simply stunned by your statement in the April issue of Real Simple that it’s appropriate to throw your own shower. This is NEVER appropriate, […]

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Can Men and Women Be Friends Without ‘the Sex Part’ Getting in the Way?

A few of us at Real Simple were recently having a discussion about whether heterosexual men and women can ever be “just friends.”  Our conclusion? We couldn’t reach one. Some editors thought it was perfectly normal in a modern, enlightened world for men and women to be pals. Others, perhaps more cynical, quoted the famous line from ”When  Harry Met […]

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A Nice Problem to Have: Both Families Want to Pay for the Wedding

This week’s etiquette question comes from a reader named Mike66, who is getting married – congratulations! – and already finds himself in the middle of a skirmish between the in laws over cash. But it’s not the usual fight over who has to pay… In this case, the bride’s family was planning to foot the bill for the wedding and reception. […]

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Modern Manners: OMG, Betty Got Fat!

In last night’s new episode of Mad Men, Betty Draper faced a thyroid cancer scare – but the real tragedy, everyone on the show agreed, was that she had gotten fat. Betty’s mother-in-law came to visit and recommended “diet pills.” And after the doctor’s office called to say the lump on Betty’s thyroid was benign, the mother of three didn’t […]

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Bad Manners: Using Twitter to Hound People

Director Spike Lee caused a stir this week by gossiping on the Internet. Lee re-tweeted to his 250,000 Twitter followers a Florida address purportedly belonging to a man who last month shot and killed a teenage boy who was wearing a hoodie, an incident that sparked nationwide outrage. Unfortunately, Lee re-tweeted the wrong address. As a result, “A couple who […]

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Girls Only: Can You Exclude Your Son in Law?

It’s perfectly natural to want to spend “alone” time with your daughter once in a while. But how can you do it without hurting your son in law’s feelings? A reader named Kathyee, who read about the topic in my “Modern Manners” column in Real Simple, wrote yesterday to offer a few tips: “In regards to the mom who wants […]

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What Your Babysitter is Thinking

In this month’s issue of Real Simple, a reader wrote to say that her friend told her to find her own babysitter, instead of sharing. “You said this person was not being a true friend, and I completely disagree,” writes Gracie1220. “I am a babysitter,” Gracie1220 writes. “I have worked with children for ten years, and I was a preschool […]

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Weigh In: Who Should Get the Wedding China?

A young mother dies when her son is 6. She had no sisters, so her brother’s wife packs away her wedding china. Thirty years later, after the boy is grown and married, the china reappears, causing problems. Here’s why: “After my husband’s mother died when he was six, (his aunt) held it for 30 years until she handed it down […]

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Can an Interest in Pinterest Get You Sued?

I like to pin pretty pictures on my online bulletin boards as much as the next Pinterest user.  And I love it when people “like” my choices or repin them. But not everyone feels the same way. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal raised the question of whether you can get into trouble for pinning images you don’t […]

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